Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I’m Going to Get Gas, Cover Me!

Image courtesy of supakitmod
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
They say history repeats itself but there’s some stuff you don’t want to see again: slavery, neon leg warmers, and gas lines. I've heard my parents talk about the gas lines of the 70s. It sounded like all the other crazy stuff they’ve told me about like all the things you could buy for a nickel and gas only costing $.25 a gallon. So I never thought I'd actually find myself waiting in a gas line, happy that it was only five blocks long.

The gas shortages began in NYC in the aftermath of the Super Storm we’ve come to know and despise as Hurricane Sandy. Some stations had gas but no power to pump it and the ones that did have power ran out quickly. As I saw people waiting in three-to-four-hour long lines I tried to stay calm, but my inner alarm bells started tolling.

I had filled up my car ahead of the storm but half a tank of gas makes me nervous on a good day. It didn’t help that I’m a Stephen King fan. I’ve read The Stand, The Cell, The Mist, and The Dome. I am currently a moderate fan of the TV shows “Revolution” and “The Walking Dead.” Basic Apocalypse Etiquette 101 requires that you have a full tank of gas at all times. This dictate is only superseded by the rule “Shoot all zombies on sight.”

My local gas station re-opened on the day of the nor’easter. The line wasn’t too long – again only five blocks – but as I sat there, my windshield wipers and rear defrost had a hard time keeping up with the fast falling snow. When I got to the front of the line, grateful that I’d only waited for 90 minutes, one of the station’s mechanics jogged up to my window to tell me they’d already run out of gas.

I began rethinking my travel plans. I cancelled two of my gigs in The City, worried that the roundtrip drain on my gas might prevent me from making it to a paying gig in Pennsylvania that weekend. I wasn’t in danger of actually running out of gas, not yet, but what if this situation didn’t get better? What if everything wasn’t as “fine” as the authorities kept saying? Politicians do lie you know and not just about money, sex, and their love of the middle class.

            When the Mayor announced that the City was going to begin rationing and restricting gas to odd/even days. I knew I couldn’t wait anymore. Finding an open gas station was a challenge, but what was actually harder was finding the end of the line. I didn’t want to inadvertently cut in front of anybody. But nor did I want to be cut which is what happened after about an hour of waiting. Dude just slipped in smooth like Jagger.

And just like that I was in touch with the primordial part of my brain that urged me to jump out of my car and rip out the still beating heart of the impudent driver who’d dared to cross me. Yes, I went there, and with a terrifying quickness.

            What stopped me?

When you pull a gun, you better be prepared to use it. Likewise, when you hop out of your car, you’ve basically committed yourself to fisticuffs and possibly an ass whupping if your opponent turns out to be bigger, stronger, and crazier than you are. In other words the self preservation part of my brain told the primordial part to take a time out.

            I was of course still angry and so I did what any other modern-day, angry adult would do: I vented on social media. In a series of tweets and FaceBook posts that I hash tagged with #moderndaycurses I said:

Dear Guy Who Cut in Front of Me on the Gas Line: May your variable rate mortgage ruin you!
Dear Guy Who Cut in Front of Me on the Gas Line: May the Lunesta butterfly keep you awake at night!
 Dear Guy Who Cut in Front of Me on the Gas Line: May all of your discretionary income be spent on Preparation H!

Dear Guy Who Cut in Front of Me on the Gas Line: May the fruit of your loins really be the fruit of the post man's loins!

This was a fun way to step down my anger and pass the time.

I finally made it into the gas station and up to an open pump. Since my FaceBook and Twitter families were there for my gas rants, I figured I share the good news with them as well. I said: “And where does the story end for now children? Just as I finished filling my tank, the gas station shut down, bone dry. #thunderdome.” Someone on FaceBook responded by saying: "That means Jesus loves you."


When it comes to religions and their myriad of vain and fickle deities I’m really more of a none-of-the-above type of girl. I do, however, find the idea deeply unsettling that if a god did exist it would choose to love me but hate the other 42 people in line behind me still waiting for gas. Just sayin. That doesn’t sound very god like. That sounds very petty like. Then again, I guess that is god like.

Although New York City is far from fixed, things are slowly creeping back to normal. As of this writing, 70% of the City’s gas stations are operating. But the Mayor has decided to keep odd/even license plate gas rationing in place through Thanksgiving weekend presumably to keep gas lines as short as possible. Now my primordial brain is wondering what he can do about bringing back $.25 a gallon gas prices. A girl might like to see that.

Thanks for reading The Urban Erma. You can subscribe to the blogcast (yes, I made up this word) FREE on iTunes. And, in case you were wondering, in addition to blogging I am also an amazing stand-up comedian. I do "Thinking Cap Comedy." Basically, if comedy were music, I'd be Jazz. Want to see a show? Check out my schedule at @ VeryFunnyLady.com

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